A New York taxi driver has been accused of telling two men: ‘I don’t drive gays.’
Ryan Smith told WNBC that he and his friend were on their way to Brooklyn, but while they were still in Manhattan, the cabbie turned in his seat to ask them an unexpected question.
Smith said that he “interrupted our conversation and was like: ‘Are you gay?’
“We were like: ‘Uh?’
“But before we could ask again, he was like, ‘Are you a gay man?'”
This time, Smith didn’t hesitate.
“‘Yes, I am,'” he told the cabbie.
“He was like: ‘I don’t drive gays.’ So I was shocked.”
The two men asked the driver to stop and let them out, unable to countenance continuing with the ride.
Smith said that his “head was spinning at this point, I just wanted to get us out of the back seat of this bigot’s cab.”
A spokesperson for the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission said: “This driver’s behaviour, as described, was totally egregious and unacceptable, and we encourage you to report it to the TLC via 311 or NYC.GOV Online so that we may hold him fully accountable for his actions.
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“This is not alright… not here in New York City, and not anywhere.”
It is the latest in a series of incidents in which Lyft, Uber and taxi drivers have ejected same-sex couples for their sexuality, including a gay couple who were left on the side of the road in Texas at 4am earlier this year.
Earlier this month, Emma Pichl, 24, and her girlfriend Alex Iovine, 26 were told on camera by their Uber driver Ahmad El Boutari that their kiss was “illegal.”
El Boutari has now had his licence suspended by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
The organisation’s spokesman Allen Fromberg said the driver’s behaviour – which involved calling his passengers “disrespectful” and repeatedly insisting that they were breaking the law – was “ridiculous.”
The spokesman said: “It’s 2018 in New York City, and this isn’t the way we live anymore,” before adding that El Boutari had committed “an unacceptable and repugnant act that will not be tolerated.”
Uber has also removed El Boutari’s access to its app while it investigates the incident.
In May, a Lyft driver in Indiana kicked a gay couple out of his car for sharing a brief kiss.
And last year, Lyft banned a driver after RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jay Rivera claimed they were kicked out of a car for being gay.